What Special Education & General Education Administrators Need to Know
The Making Money Matter (M3) project is part of the Massachusetts Results Driven Accountability (RDA) initiative, and promotes targeted use of federal special education funds in ways that are designed to lead to improved outcomes for students with Individualized Education Programs (IEPs).
The title of this initiative, Making Money Matter, represents the power of leveraging a small percentage of funds to effect systemic impact on outcomes for students with IEPs. The nomenclature, M3 (M cubed) focuses on the exponential benefits districts can obtain with this set aside to outcomes for individual students through system level improvements.
For the first year of M3 participation and at least every 3 years thereafter that the district continues its participation, the district's M3 redirection of 240 funds and corresponding work should focus data team efforts on assessment of achievement and opportunity gaps for your students with IEPs, identifying the root causes for those gaps, and developing both a 3-year Strategic Plan for improving the outcomes of students with IEPs and an annual intervention Action Plan for implementation, using an evidence-based planning framework.
The district is required to engage in self-assessment and evidence-based planning processes that are broad in scope including multiple indicators of successful outcomes for students with IEPs. For this reason, DESE recommends immediately reviewing results from the district's most recent Coordinated Program Review or Mid-Cycle Review, and reviewing district performance in relation to the indicators specified in the Massachusetts State Performance Plan and Annual Performance Report (SPP/APR).
Because outcomes for students with IEPs are dependent upon student access to the Massachusetts Curriculum Frameworks and participation in the Least Restrictive Environment (LRE), your district's M3 planning process and work should prioritize:
The district's M3 planning process, goals, and strategies should be coherent with the district's sustainable improvement plans and priorities for all students. Additionally, the M3 work must target the outcomes of students with IEPs, addressing the gaps and needs identified in the Needs Intervention determination, the effectiveness of local special education programs and services, and improving the application of the district standards and indicators to special education systems.
Districts should align M3 initiatives coherently with their district improvement strategies, emphasizing accelerated learning with high quality, rigorous, culturally responsive, Tier I grade level instruction. Districts should prioritize services at any schools that have been identified for achievement gaps in the Students with Disabilities category under the MA Accountability Framework.
Districts engaged in sustainable improvement in partnership with the DESE Statewide System of Support (SSoS) are strongly encouraged to consult with their DESE SSoS representative in the assessment, planning, development, implementation, and review of initiatives under this M3 program.
In a district M3 (re)assessment and planning year, the district's early planning should focus on the planning process itself and the steps that are necessary to identify the following:
Identification and use of an evidence-based planning framework that includes process benchmarks or an alternative with the necessary elements is required. When selecting a planning framework, the district should consider one that includes tools and resources to support the district's planning process and will result in effectively determining the who, what, when, where, why, and how of the M3 work in the district.
Evidence-based frameworks that are approved for this planning process are:
For districts that choose to use an alternative planning framework to those listed above, such frameworks must include all of the following essential elements:
Early process benchmarks are encouraged to assist the district in initial efforts to: select an effective planning framework, identify next steps, develop ongoing process benchmarks, design a monitoring process, and set timelines. When completing this early planning, districts should establish benchmarks and timelines that will meet M3 yearend reporting expectations. Below is a list of suggested early process benchmarks. This list is aligned with the Planning for Success framework, tools, and resources.
Please note that M3 is not intended to require districts to duplicate previous work. If one or more of the above steps duplicates work completed by the district's Special Education Department, that step should be skipped and the justification for skipping that step should be clearly identified in the M3 tab of the IDEA FC 240 application workbook.
While your district's M3 initiative will focus on engaging in a collaborative and data-driven improvement planning process, this planning year must also result in both a high quality 3-year Strategic Plan for improving the outcomes of students with IEPs and a high quality Action Plan for implementation in the following year.
The 3-year Strategic Plan should consist of:
The annual Action Plan should consist of:
End of Year Report
Please contact Abigail T. Slayton or 781-338-3517 with any questions related to M3.
April 2022 Special Education Assistance Webinar Slideshow: Presentation and recording: Presentation Recording
Making Money Matter (M3)
M3 Introduction Slides
Planning for Success
Advance Notice of Intent to Direct the Use of Fund Code 240
Accountability Lists, Materials, and Tools
Results Driven Accountability
Statewide Special Education SPP/APR Reports: District Compliance and Performance Indicators
Last Updated: June 16, 2022
Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education
75 Pleasant Street, Malden, MA 02148-4906
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